Thursday, 31 May 2012

LivWise by Olivia Newton-John, Review

When I think of Olivia Newton John firstly I think of Sandie in Grease – that’s not just me is it?! Second thought is that she had cancer, and it is that experience, or the fallout from it that has led to her cook book. LivWise easy recipes for a healthy, happy life by Olivia Newton-John published by Murdoch Books 2012, with thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

We are what we eat, and although this may or may not be apparent on the outside, you can’t hide from what happens on the inside. Eating good food is vital to keeping you in good health, and although it may not stop you getting the cold or flu (or worse), it will help you recover faster. So Olivia has set about eating the best food she can for optimum health.

It’s not just a personal mission either, she is in the process of opening a health retreat called Gaia in Australia to help others.

The pictures in the book are great, uplifting and calm with gorgeous looking food. The recipes are easy to follow, although you will almost certainly need a trip to a health food or green shop to source some of the ingredients, but I’m sure I’ve confessed before I like to do that anyway. The recipes Olivia has chosen for her book come from three sources, her friends, the chefs at Gaia and of course her own recipe book at home. There are a number of notes appended to some of the recipes giving information on the more unusual, health boosting ingredients.

Main chapters are: *Introduction, *Breakfast, *Shakes, Snacks and Breads, *Salads and Dressings, *Mains and *Sweets*.

If you are into juicing there are a few unusual combos to try. Some of the recipes I fancy trying are: Bush spiced fish with sweet potato mash and fruit salsa, Veggie Patties, Ocean trout with cauliflower puree and lime balsamic dressing and for the next recipe I’m going to make a breakfast one – Gaia toasted museli, a recipe that will give us a jar of something healthy and delicious for a number of breakfasts. This is essentially a kind of granola flavoured with coconut and dried berries then sweetened with agave nectar. How good does that sound?
This is a beautiful cook book full of good food. Which will nourish and nurture your mind, body and soul.
Quinoa Salad

This was the first recipe that I made. I’m a relative newcomer to quinoa, but I love how it makes me feel – full and energised. This salad is dotted with cucumber, red cabbage, spinach, spring onions and tamari laced sunflower seeds. The dressing is flavoured with lemon, tahini and white miso paste. The dressing was really punchy, but the quinoa takes it on well. We liked this the day I made it and I liked the leftovers the next day too, it was a bit more mellow then, but it was good both ways.

Next Up: Gok Cooks Chinese

Monday, 21 May 2012

Meringue with Lime Cream and Raspberries - Cake Slice Bakers May 2012

It’s Cake Slice Bakers time of the month once more. I’m flying by the seat of my pants this month and am a day late in posting, as it should have been yesterday. Mind you I’m doing quite well to only be one day late!

Anyhow this month’s make is a pudding or dessert, Individual Meringue Cups with Lime Cream and Fresh Berries. It’s from the Meringue Cakes Chapter of The Cake Book by Tish Boyle published by John Wiley and Sons 2006.

I baked it pavlova style as one biggie, this gave a super chewy inside . It was filled with a delicious lime cream made by making your own lime curd and folding into whipped cream. I used 10 fl oz of double cream instead of the 6fl oz in the recipe. I don’t think I’ve made lime curd before (lemon and passion fruit have appeared in my kitchen before though), it was delicious a little more floral than lemon. The combination of the meringue, lime cream and berries was lovely, a perfect late Spring or Summer dessert.

I promise to try and get next month’s bake on the go for the right date, and I’m looking forward to it as it’s something I’ve not made before, though I must keep it under my hat for now. Until then though I’m off to see how my fellow Cake Slice Bakers got on, click here for the blogroll if you fancy doing the same.
Next Up: Livwise by Olivia Newton-John

Monday, 7 May 2012

Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne – Review

I’ve been looking forward to this book for months! Miranda came to prominence after taking part in the Great British Bake Off in 2010. She was a finalist along with Ruth Clemens and Edd Kimber – the eventual winner. I wanted all three of them to win.

On the TV show that went with the bake off I remember Miranda particularly for her gorgeous cakes and beautiful iced biscuits. So it is very fitting that Biscuit by Miranda Gore Browne published in 2012 by Ebury Press is her first cookbook.

It has a really classic feel to it, one to dip into now and come back to for years to come. Pages are nicely laid out and the recipes are easy to follow. Every recipe is certainly not pictured, but the recipes where there are pictures make them very homely and do-able – the biscuits are the stars.

I love biscuits, they are a treat, even the healthier ones – they are still treats. Little bite-sized ones that won’t blow your diet if you have a couple. I have a friend and she says “I’m a girl for a biscuit” and I think I might be too. I’ve recently been trying my hand at iced biscuits and they are such a fun way to spend a bit of time in the kitchen. There are a couple of pages of ideas in the book to get anyone who hasn’t done this before started.

Chapters are: *Biscuits for Beginners* Cup of Tea and a Chat Biscuits* Seasonal Biscuits* Outdoor Biscuits* Savoury Nibbles* Almost Healthy Biscuits* Children’s Party Biscuits* Petit Fours* Making and Decorating Celebration Biscuits* and finally * Say it with Biscuits* which is a page about gifting biscuits.

Some of the biscuits I have marked to try are: Sweetie Biscuits, Chocolate Bourbons, Coconut Cherry Macaroons, Chocolate Flapjack Biscuits, Pear and Ginger Fairings, Mini Christmas Puddings, Boozy White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies and Healthy Monkeys.

Here are the two I tried so far:

Chocolate Toffee Melts
From the Biscuits for Beginners chapter, easy to do with children. A simple chocolate biscuit with a melted rolo in the middle.

Lemon Drizzlers
Another easy biscuit from the Cup of Tea and a Chat chapter. My glaze ran off the top and went underneath the biscuits a bit. The drizzle gave these little almondy lemon biscuits a seriously lemon kick, we all loved them. Will thicken the glaze a bit more next time, and there will be a next time! If you have a look on Amazon UK there is a little video clip of Miranda making these, if you are interested.

Next Up: Livwise by Olivia Newton-John